Five Important Steps To Get Started With A New Software Implementation
It doesn’t matter what size your agency is - change will always be a disturbance to humans. We are creatures of habit and we tend to be comfortable working with things we are familiar with even if we were presented with evidence of a better solution. The same is true of software. As often as not, we will stick with what we know even if there is something better because change scares us. In fact, the inherent human tendency to resist change is one of the biggest threats to a smooth software implementation.
During our thirty-five years of experience, and in working with various agencies – regardless of their size – we’ve witnessed many successful new software implementations and based on those experiences, have developed five core competencies we see as essential in a successful process of implementing new software within an organisation.
Communication is Key
Communication is key for a new software implementation. It’s critical to discuss and encourage engagement from within your team about the changes that will be coming to the organisation. To ensure buy-in to the changes, there is a requirement that there are effective discussions between the decision-maker and the rest of the team on the reasons for the new software implementation. This requires clear communication around the benefits the software can bring to the team and what it means to them in real terms.
Regular communication is vital to keep the team up to date with the process. The last thing you want to do is implement large changes without the involvement of those who are in the front line. Numerous studies have in fact found that leaving people out of the process leads to systemic failure more often than not.
It is also important to remember that different people prefer different forms of communication, and thus, best practice dictates that you communicate through various methods including email updates, team meetings, demonstrations and videos.
Generate a Time Plan for The Implementation
As with all large projects, having a timeline is important. With software change this is no less a priority, thus you need to execute a timeline with the software provider. This helps end-users to monitor progress, see key milestones, understand implementation and integration work. Furthermore, it will create a more organised workflow for both partners in work completion and prioritisation; thus minimising time or cost burdens on both parties.
A detailed project timeline for conversion will increase confidence towards the software, as this will demonstrate its flexibility and adaptivity features in an everlasting changing industry resulting in a smooth transition from one software to another.
Choose a Life Partner for Your Agency
No agency would want to invest with a technology vendor but would rather work alongside a technology partner. When you are ready to introduce new software to the organisation, it is important for the technology partner you are selecting to provide a proven track record of the solution you need, you would also need to check their team on how well and experienced they are with the software implementation, this can assure you they can understand the industry and are fluent in agency best practice.
When it comes to large scale change, humans, let alone companies often find the process daunting. And if staff have never implemented a change of magnitude before (such as switching financial platforms) then there can be many problems:
- People don’t know where to start
- Staff often fail to develop an implementation plan
- There can be issues with exporting and importing data
- Developing accurate timelines can be hard.
As such, when it comes to large financial platform change, we have seen time and time again the benefits of partnering with us over choosing a vendor or online solution. Whilst online guides can be great, there is no substitute for a partner who has a track record, who has a proven implementation plan and who knows how to extract the right information and utilise it correctly to get the new system up and running.
Asking for customer references is a great way to improve the qualification process. Asking for references can give you a behind the scenes look at how a prospective partner has dealt with the whole process and what their support model is if you need aftersale help. After all, you would want a partner who is there as your agency grows; a company there for the long haul, not just for the sale
Training is Key to Successful Software Readiness
As we’ve mentioned earlier is that it’s extremely important to communicate with the team before rolling out as new software to the agency. One critical element of communication is training. Training should be provided to all levels of the agency that will be using the new software. This reduces friction on the uptake and helps familiarise staff with the platform.
Training creates confidence among staff users, it also teaches them about the system, which will create an engaging atmosphere. If conducted face-to-face (which will happen again after COVID-19 has been controlled) the trainer and trainees will share concerns, best practice and answer questions that will assist in the implementation of the new solution.
Decide What Data Are You Importing
We touched on this above, but successful implementation also rests on knowing what data you need to bring over and how to integrate it. Integration off old data is important, and thus unsurprisingly it can be complex, especially if spread over various platforms. It is important to work with the rest of the team to identify the data that’s meant to be organised and integrated into the new system.
Before you initiate the change-over, make sure you decide what data you are importing to the system, as this will make the transition easier. Furthermore, it gives you time to ensure that key stakeholders have the opportunity to get everything up to date before you move systems.
The more you plan for an upcoming change the better the results of the new software implementation will be. But it all starts by deciding what service you want to roll out.
If you are looking to make a change from your existing financial platform (such as Xero or spreadsheets) let’s have a chat. We are happy to show you the Pegasus Systems platform and even give you a demonstration to allow you to see first-hand, just why this is the right software for your company.